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Ares I-X test flightBy Hanleigh Daniels 27 October 2009 | Categories: news
The Ares I-X, a new rocket that\'s set to replace the Space Shuttle, is due to launch for its first test flight today.
The two minute maiden flight of the 100m-long space vehicle from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, will provide crucial information on the rocket required for the development of a manned Ares I craft. The test launch has been scheduled for today between 12:00 and 16:00 GMT. If the weather isn’t favourable enough to allow for this, then NASA has a four-hour launch window each day until Thursday.
Its profile is due to the design of its solid rocket booster that looks like the ones the Space Shuttle uses to lift into orbit. The upper half of the rocket, which will eventually house a crew capsule and emergency escape devices, is an imitation on this test model. The rocket has also been fitted with sensors, allowing engineers to monitor all aspects of the test flight, including pressures, accelerations and temperatures.
Ares I-X’s future uses might include a return to the moon for exploration of its surface and then to travel to Mars and further targets.
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